According to Dan Sullivan of The Strategic Coach, your mindset is, “An ingrained and particular way of thinking about and looking at the future that you hold onto consistently over a long period of time.” Simply put, your mindset creates behavior. Let’s analyze how different mindsets towards people development may be affecting your firm.

One of the things that cause people to not invest into maximizing the potential of the individuals around them is a belief that there is simply too much to do. As a result, you continually put off the time to develop and train them. There are not enough hours in a day to being with, so how can you possibly justify taking one hour per week to mentor or train your team members, whether it's one on one, or in a group?

Looking for the deeper cause

But it's a mistake to think this way. That being said, there's a perfectly intelligent reason that you haven't taken the time to train anyone. You've convinced yourself that the only way to get the work that needs to be done is by brute force and long hours. This thinking gets yourself stuck up against a ceiling that you'll never break through. If the skill set remains as it is now, you and your team members will never be able to handle any more work. Continuing to work hard without investing in people will only get you more of the same: a feeling that there is too much work to do and not enough time to do it all in.

Turnover - that's why I don’t do it

Another cause for not making the time to develop the individuals around you is due to the seemingly never-ending rate of turnover. After all, you are already spending an enormous amount of time and resources into recruiting, interviewing, and bringing on new team members. And that time is coming out of time you are already short on. With all that effort, what happens? Most of them don't last anyways, so you might as well wait a bit to see who's going to stick around and be a good fit.

You're going to grasp how this mindset is limiting the growth of your firm, your overall productivity and profitability as well. You see, if you hold such a belief, you'll always delay training them, hoping to save yourself more wasted energy. However, this creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. The best team members WANT to learn and to improve and to do great work. Most people don't show up to work where they spend 2/3rds of their lives with the intent of not being good. However, if you don't create opportunities for them to learn, improve, and develop more confidence in how to do the work they are doing day in and day out - guess what? You're not going to be able to keep the good ones. If you have a high rate of turnover, I am willing to make a virtual bet that you are not investing in developing and training your team members.  Mindset shift - at least I hope so.

A rock-solid team you can count on

When you are past these two levels, and you have a mindset that you have a rock solid team with the skills to excel in their work and whom you can consistently count on. Think of the impact on your overall quality of life when you jump from the previous two mindsets to this one.

By making this a priority in your firm, you will reap very positive rewards. You ensure that every person in your firm feels confident and comfortable in using the tools they depend on daily. Word, Excel, Outlook, case management software, etc. Do you hand them a computer and say, "Get to work?" Or do you have someone sit down with them and educate them on all the tools and how they are used within the firm? Doing the latter will get you much happier team members that are more productive, which all impact the bottom line. This mindset creates a very solid team who will do very well.

You are always investing into further developing the talented individuals around you.

The peak mindset in terms of maximizing the people around you is where you are doing so continually. This level takes you to the next level of productivity across the board.  It is not a one-off thing where you only make sure everyone knows how to use their tools. It is an ongoing culture where people are constantly learning. It is a growth mindset.

For example, there is a significant difference between giving someone the login to their case management software and telling them to use it and to take the time to learn the basics and showing them how it is used in the firm.  Always investing into further developing everyone around you  is a whole other level. Continuing the example, at this next level, you would continue to hold monthly training for the entire team so that your firm starts leveraging and using the advanced features. The case management software example is a big one because most firms only utilize the basic set of features. There is a lot of dormant potentials, just a training away.

Although the analogies used here were technology related, this applies to anything that is skill-based in your firm. Viewing your approach and mindset towards training within your firm in this way, you can now determine where you are now and what the next level is for you. Going forward, you'll realize that by developing the team members around you, attorneys and support staff, you'll be able to achieve a significant improvement across the firm.

Yours truly,

Tom Lambotte